KEEP IN TOUCH WITH ME

© 2018 by ROYA EBTEHAJ

Artist Statement

+We live in a world full of tension. We deal with stress from work, money, family, and then turn to our newsfeeds to only absorb more discomfort from the brutality of war and politics. As a consequence, most of us have a form of fidgeting obsessive behavior in our daily lives to ease this stress. The habits may be relatively harmless, but also seem impossible to stop. On the surface, it may seem we become stronger people throughout time, but these obsessive habits continue to grow; and yet, in our very private moments, we admit we are more fragile than yesterday.

I am away from home and my family facing certain travel bans. 2015 has been the most stressful stage of my immigration to the United States. Dealing with school, work and culture-shock on one hand and the presidential debates and campaign promises for the protecting borders from terrorism on the other hand, dramatically increased my unhealthy habit of playing with my hair. Although the political conflicts are between governments, the true victims of these arguments are ordinary people like me. This exhibition, titledp5-1, is my personal reflection on this Persian proverb:

“The scissor blades meet and part without harming one another, yet they tear whatever stands in between”.

 

+P5-1 is a collection of multimedia art works visualizing the traumatic influence of the extreme polarization between the East and West, in my personal life. The video installation is included a single channel of 11 selected videos projected on 11 magnifying sheets. Videos were recorded over course of a month on October 2015 with my cell phone capturing me playing with my hair obsessively in different times/places. The interactive sculpture is included two touch sensors being activated by putting step on them and it activated a one by one dialogue between Iranian and US government.

The dialogue goes to nowhere except threatens and political hate speech. The number of the tapes confronting east and west represents 5 – 1 countries involved in Iranian nuclear deal.

 

+P5+1 is a group of six global powers (the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, China, Germany) which, in 2006, joined together in diplomatic efforts with Iran regarding its nuclear program. The Iran nuclear deal framework was a preliminary agreement reached in July 2015 between the Islamic Republic of Iran and P5+1. On May 8, 2018, United States President Donald Trump announced the United States was withdrawing from the deal.